Long before I worked for VantagePoint I partook in the Guildford Lions Raft Race for several years. Some years with a lot more success than others, one year our boat started disintegrating as soon as we left the start line.
For the past couple of years, I have decided to stay on dry land. VantagePoint became media partners with the Guildford Lions and they were kind enough to let us have a gazebo on the banks of the river so that we could be right in the middle of all the action.
The raft race happens every year, and usually takes part on the first weekend of July. It is a fun filled day, where members of the public and local businesses make their own homemade rafts and must race the rafts down the river, from the Millmead lock to the finish line, which is the Waterside Centre near Stoughton.
Each year the race is open to all, and a whole range of people enter it. Companies, private individuals and charities, and there is always an impressive number of rafts entered. The rafts congregate on the grass by the Millmead lock. This year they were judged by the Mayor, Richard Billington and the Lions president, Mick Ryan.
The race always has a theme, in the past it has been film titles, historical figures. This year it was magic, myths and legends. The participants must encompass the theme of the raft race within the construction of the raft, or in the costumes if they decide to wear them.
At the end of the race there is an awards ceremony with a BBQ at the waterside Centre, and of course a chance for the participants to have a catch up and a laugh about the race.
This event raises funds each year for The Guildford Lions club, to help local people and deserving causes, and is also part of the Guildford Summer Festival.
It was such a great day to be a part of, and as usual it attracted a large crowd of people who walked the route of the raft race along the riverbanks, armed with water guns, for a good old soaking, as well as cheers of encouragement to the rafts below in the river.
Who knows…there might even be a VantagePoint raft next year!
The Guildford lions hold a lot of events throughout the year, and all the events are for such a good cause.
Please see www.guildfordlions.com to see what else the Lions have planned for the rest of the year.